February 2020 - this was my second trip to Ranthambore in two years.
On the camera, I found the place addictive. After we returned from the trip, things went into lockdown - and I had plenty of time to go through the few hundred pictures I had clicked. Having been influenced by the black-and-white photography of David Yarrow, I decided to try my hand at ‘Ranthambore in black and white’.
Ranthambore Fort, the imposing 10th-century structure, lies on a hilltop within the park. It is a formidable fort that houses the Ganesh Mandir. The fort lies outside the core gate of the sanctuary but within the buffer zone. The Trinetra Ganesh Temple is one of the oldest temples in Rajasthan and the only temple in the world which houses the entire family of the three-eyed Lord Ganesha. Wednesdays see the crowds coming in to visit the temple - and in the space along the passage, small shops open up, selling stuff such as eatables and souvenirs. Visitors are permitted to bring their vehicles up to the core gate (or Singh Darwaza, as it is called) and park there, as this is also the base of the fort.
We had full-day safaris over the next two days. Finding a tiger is a matter of luck and depends on the expertise of the driver and the guide; in our case, both of them had wonderful coordination. They would get information from other safaris and listen to the monkey and the deer calls and keep looking out for pug marks, and then position themselves beforehand. We were fortunate to have more than a dozen sightings in two days.
We also visited the Raj Bagh ruins, which are situated between Padam Talao and Taj Bagh Talao in the park. These ancient ruins are stone structures in the form of arches, palace outhouses, domes and steps. It lends an air of history and mystery to the surroundings. However, as impressive as these ruins are, they are surrounded by a dense jungle, which often serves as the hideout for Royal Bengal tigers. All we could do was admire these ruins from a distance.